Weekly Feature

2018-07-05 / Obituaries

Thomas F. Higgins, former Erie County sheriff

Higgins Higgins Thomas F. Higgins, 88, of South Buffalo, died Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

At a young age, he worked a factory job at Donner Hanna Coke Corp. before joining the Marine Corps at the outbreak of the Korean War. In Korea, he was a radioman in forward observation posts.

He attended Buffalo State College where he earned a general equivalency diploma and eventually bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

In 1956, he began a 21-year career in the Buffalo Police Department. During his career with the BPD, he served in the elite Tactical Patrol Unit and was a founder of the Underwater Recovery Team. He retired in 1978 to become undersheriff under newly elected Sheriff Kenneth J. Braun and was elected Erie County Sheriff in 1985 upon Braun’s retirement.

“Today, and in the days to come, this office, the community and his family will mourn Sheriff Higgins’ passing and honor his service and memor y,” said Sheriff Timothy B. Howard.

“Thomas Higgins will be remembered for his dedication to public service. He served his country as an honorable Marine, his city as a police officer and his community as Erie County Sheriff.”

Mr. Higgins was a member of the Buffalo Commission on Citizens’ Rights and Community Relations and chairman of the Korean War Memorial Committee.

“He was an old-school politician and a friend to all,” said Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw. “Always a gentleman, even when you disagreed with him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

In retirement, he frequently traveled to Ireland and enjoyed countless lunch and dinner gatherings through groups like the Rascals Lunch Club and the Blackthorn Club.

Mr. Higgins is survived by three children, Timothy, Daniel and Thomas, and eight grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley (nee Cancilla) and eight siblings, Richard, Kevin, James, John, Mary Conboy, Patricia Dunn, Joan Archer and Kathleen Mc- Carthy.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held on June 30 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. Arrangements were made by the Reddington Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.

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